29th August 1914, Liege.
Colonel General Helmuth von Moltke was surveying the ruins of Liege, Liege was to have been the key. It was a critical node that would enable his armies to sweep through Belgium and on into France. But with Liege destroyed that node was absent. The railways beyond Liege had been damaged but that could be made right, the damage to Liege could be made right as well but that would take time. Limited options, single tracked and slow existed to get around Liege but they were only able to move a tithe of what was needed. His armies needed food, petrol, ammunition, and most of all they needed fodder, the horses had to be feed or they would not be able to pull the thousands of carts that hauled everything else. The need to use horses instead of railways reduced his mobility to that of a Napoleonic army, his men were requisitioning everything they could from the Belgians, but it was not anywhere what he needed. In addition, it had made his army an enemy of everyone in the country, farmers had started to burn crops standing in the fields, hay in its ricks rather than see it taken for his men. Already it had been necessary to deploy more men to control the Francs-Tireurs than he had initially planned for, this was another drain on manpower and supplies that he did not need.
The 1st army was heading headfirst into a great salient, with the Belgians holding Antwerp, the British Ghent and the French and Belgians Namur. Von Moltke was starting to think the plan had failed. If Namur could be captured then the way might be open to move more supplies, but this was dependent on the Franco-Belgian defence collapsing.
The goal was to either keep trying to outflank the French and their allies by continuing to swing through Belgium or to find another gap through which his army could strike, to get behind the French and open the door to Paris. If the right wing could not do it without risking defeat and capture perhaps, it should be the left wing. Already the French armies had been bloodied and pushed back from their abortive Alsace and Lorraine campaigns, weakened by defeat, they might be the best target.
If the Entente continued to focus on Belgium and particularly Namur they would draw ever more reinforcements to the North and West. An attack by the 4th and 5th armies aimed at Sedan and Verdun might enable the pincer to cut through pocketing the French 5th army and the BEF.
Von Moltke would gather his staff and begin planning, he sent orders to Hindenburg, Von Kluck and Hausen that they were to focus their efforts on pinning the French defences on the Meuse and Sambre. Hindenburg was to continue his advance but he was to ensure that he kept his flanks secure and not get over extended.
To the commanders of the 4th 5th and 6th armies he sent orders to prepare for attacks on Sedan and Verdun.